For the majority of the public, T.J. Oshie broke onto the scene during the Olympics when Dan Blysma had him shoot every time in the shootout against Russia. He had played well for years on the Blues and now is continuing that run in the nation’s capital. Please, blog, may I have some more?
The trade deadline looms, leaving some things uncertain, but for the most part we are getting to the part of the season where we know what we know what we know: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Sometimes it’s hard to admit that your top ranked goalie just has not come out of his funk (Pekka Rinne, anyone?); or that the offensive juggernaut your goalie plays for just can’t buy a goal (Hello, Ben Bishop!). There are still surprises to watch out for, especially for those in keeper leagues, so keep an eye on the middle tiers if you’re looking to upgrade your goaltending situation. The top tier are likely untouchable; and for other reasons entirely, so are the bottom tier.
As far as journeyman goaltenders go, Chad Johnson is the perfect model for grinding the hockey life waiting for an opportunity. Johnson bounced around organizations and finally got a chance to backup in Boston 2 years ago putting up outstanding numbers in 27 games. He was miserable for the Islanders last season and was traded to the tanking Sabres at the deadline. Well, the Sabres aren't tanking now and Johnson is taking advantage of his chance splitting time. Johnson played incredibly on Thursday night, stopping all 44 shots he faced in the 3-0 win over the Ducks. His numbers on the season are now very solid for someone who's sitting on the waiver wire in the majority of leagues; 2.33 GAA and .918 sv%. It's still unknown when Robin Lehner will return and Linus Ullmark will get his starts but I'd grab Johnson in 12'ers for the time being. Here's what else I saw the last two nights:
While I've talked about the Flames being a major disappointment in this space multiple times this year, Johnny Gaudreau certainly doesn't belong in that category. The young gun is keeping a point per game this season and he had his best game to date on Friday, scoring a hat trick, adding an assist with five shots and two PIM in the 5-4 OT win against the Bruins. The shots are a little lower than you'd like for Gaudreau to reach true superstar status but he's probably pushing the top 25 overall at this point. Not bad for a fifth round pick who most thought was too small to make it in the league. Here's what else I saw on a busy weekend:
Welcome to Assume the Position, a new weekly feature that will focus on one specific player position each week. On a personal note, I love a good, deep league, the kind in which it's actually helpful to know who the backup goalie is in Buffalo. We'll be wading deep into the player pool on most weeks, so dynasty and deep redraft league owners, take note. We’ll start things off with a look at the goaltenders, breaking them up into four tiers, with comments on each. Below, goalies denoted in parentheses are the clear backup, while teammates that are hyphenated play in a more balanced timeshare. Rating goalies by the numbers alone is tricky business. We’ll revisit the chart throughout the season and hopefully give you a leg (pad?) up on the competition that goes beyond the numbers.
When you look at the Montreal Canadiens' roster, I see a quality team with three superstars, but not a team that amazes you on paper. Right now, you have a team that's clicking on all cylinders, starting 9-0 with every win in regulation. Even when they get outplayed, like they did on Saturday, they have Carey Price to bail them out. Price stopped 49 of 52 shots to carry Montreal to a 5-3 in the second game of a back to back. If you were bold enough to take him in the first round, it's paying off so far. Hell, almost all Canadiens have been great so far and are carrying fantasy teams in plus-minus by themselves. Let's take a look at what happened in a busy weekend around the league:
At this point in the season the wire has been picked clean and then picked clean again like so many bones days after Thanksgiving. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and an owner who dumped some key guys who had no games remaining last week but lost so they’re still sitting there for you to bolster your roster with in the championship round, but normally there isn’t much to work with. Given that, the emergency recall of high scoring prospect Stanislav Galiev might be worth your attention. A former third round pick in 2010, Galiev posted 45 points (25 G, 20 A) in 64 games with the Hersey Bears this season and gets a chance late this season due to the mounting injury woes the playoff bound Caps are facing. They’ll want to rest some of their key guys and that gives Galiev a chance to play a couple games on big ice. You can’t expect a ton from the kid given his past struggles; he bounced back and fourth between the ECHL and AHL in two seasons prior to his successful campaign this year, so he hasn’t exactly torn it up and skyrocketed to big ice as a result, but like I said to open this little blurb, it’s slim pickings right now and you can expect Galiev to get decent minutes and maybe pot a goal or two over the next two games and at this point in the season that can make all the difference. If you’re in a deep league he’s absolutely worth streaming. If you’re in a more shallow league I might hold off, but not too long as the Caps only play two more games this week and if you’re going to get anything from this kid you’ll need both games to make it worth your while. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey recently:
As promised we’re halfway through the week and I’m back with a quick update to help you track games remaining this week for all 30 teams. What? You think Wednesday is halfway through the week? Wrong you are, math majors! I’ll let you figure that one out but in the meantime pay attention. If one of your guys on a team with only a game or two left this week are hurt you have some tough decisions to make as we approach the weekend. Remember what I wrote about knowing when to cut bait on the right guys at the right time and with a little luck you’ll be just fine. Games remaining by team for the Week of March 30 – April 5: 3 Games– Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, St. Louis Blues, Washington Capitals 2 Games– Columbus Blue Jackets, Boston Bruins, New York Islanders, Phoenix Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks 1 Game– Anaheim Ducks, Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets Remember that those totals include tonight’s games and there are 12 teams with two left right now that only play one game from Friday through Sunday and they are the Ducks, Bruins, Flames, Blue Jackets, Oilers, Kings, Wild, Preds, Isles, Rangers, Canucks and Jets. So keep these numbers in mind when making your moves and make sure to choose wisely my friends. Good luck to all and here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey recently:
For most of the season Rasmus Ristolainen, D (1 G, 2 SOG, +2) has been largely forgettable on a forgettable team. His season line currently sits at 8/9/17/-29 in 73 games played and that’s going to make most owners laugh and look elsewhere for blue line help at this point in the season, but if you did that you’d be making a mistake. As my mantra goes, at this point in the season it doesn’t really matter what has happened, it only matters what’s happening now and right now the talented young rearguard is starting to catch fire and is definitely worth a look in most formats now and should absolutely be on your radar for a breakout campaign in the next season or two.
When the season started no one expected much from Thomas Vanek, RW (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG) after he crash-landed to end his 2013 season with the Habs. It was so bad by the end that the Habs were giving Vanek fourth line minutes or just flat out benching him during the Eastern Conference Finals, so if you expected a move to Minnesota to instantly fixed what ailed him, you were cray cray. Shockingly, the move did little to help matters but come to find out he was having some serious off-ice troubles that were at the heart of his sudden departure from the NHL’s goal scoring elite. Well, that nonsense has been cleaned up, he's been rocking it for almost two months and now Charlie Coyle, C (1 G, 1 SOG, +2) is joining the party.